New Report Examines How Districts Identify Effective Teachers and Use Effectiveness Information in Human Resource Policy

Washington, D.C. – A new report prepared by experts from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education examines how five school districts measured teacher effectiveness and used effectiveness information in human resource policies.

The report, Providing Effective Teachers for All Students: Examples from Five Districts, looks at public school systems in Columbus, Ohio; Eagle County, Colo.; Hamilton County, Tenn.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; and Houston, Texas.

  • All five districts used student achievement growth as one measure of teacher effectiveness for some or all teachers. In addition, four districts used new or revised observation based assessments in conjunction with achievement growth, or were in the process of developing them.
  • All five districts used their measures of teacher effectiveness in some human resource policies. For example, four districts used teacher effectiveness information in performance pay initiatives.
  • Three of the five districts had policies that targeted high need schools, drawing on effectiveness information. All three offered financial incentives to teachers to move to or stay in high need schools.
  • The report describes these districts’ efforts in using the new measures of teacher effectiveness and suggests a number of key challenges and solutions that other districts and states can consider in developing measures of teacher effectiveness.

“This study report is rich in examples and artifacts from districts that are on the cutting-edge,” according to Dr. Andrew Wayne, AIR’s project director and a co-author on the report. The study’s lead author is Mariann Lemke, a principal researcher at AIR.

Among the examples discussed in the report:

  • Keeping teachers and principals informed about new measures of teacher effectiveness. Interviewees described their efforts to ensure that teachers and principals were appropriately informed about new measures of teacher effectiveness.
  • Implementing classroom observation systems that were both rigorous and manageable. Interviewees noted the challenges in implementing classroom observation systems that were both rigorous and feasible. The report offers examples of how districts found observers, ensured reliable scoring, and made other design decisions.
  • Making the distribution of effective teachers more equitable. The report shows how one district monitored the distribution of teacher effectiveness, and offers concrete examples of the districts’ targeted actions to make the distribution of effective teachers more equitable.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit


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